Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Participating in research at McGill University

When Kira was just about one year old, my auntie informed me about the McGill Infant Development Centre and how they kept a database of infants and children for their studies on cognitive and language development. Coming from a Psychology background myself, this interested me immensely and so I registered Kira without hesitation. She was called in shortly afterward to participate in a study on language perception. She watched a video where voiceless actors would act out a scene. I can't remember the exact details of the study, except that she was enthralled by the video presentation and was not old enough to verbalize what she was seeing and processing. We left the study with a new onesie for Kira and a certificate of participation. :)

Fast forward to three years later... I received a call just weeks ago from the MIDC, asking if I would like Kira to participate in yet another study calling for 4 year olds. "Yes! Absolutely!" I volunteered my daughter right away and got excited about the prospect of taking part in another study with Kira. As I played with Calvin in an adjoining room, I could watch Kira's participation on a tv screen - without sound the first session, and with sound the second session (our sessions were one week apart). My kids walked away with stickers, we got to go on an "outing", and without their knowledge of it, we were able to contribute to research.

Here are a couple of photos. They aren't great quality, but just to give you an idea of the set-up from were I was watching, in the top photo you can see Kira playing games with the first research assistant, and the bottom photo is the panel of equipment used for the observation / recording of the session.

If this type of opportunity interests you, please consider submitting your child(ren)'s information to the MIDC using the link above.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Calvin at Gramofun

I finally had a chance to register Calvin in his own daytime activity with mommy, now that Kira is in preschool 2 full days a week. I chose a course in Longueuil called Gramofun, which is a fun introduction to music for babies and children aged 0 to 5. We had an energetic instructor in Julie, pictured above with Calvin.

Calvin started the class off quite apprehensively, as he didn't quite know what to make of the environment. However, as the weeks passed he became a little bit less reserved and more participatory. Every time we'd park the car across from the building where the classes took place, he'd say "That's my school, and my teacher is Julie." I think he really enjoyed having a school experience to himself, having heard about Kira's school so often. And of course being my son, when he had his pick of instruments it was all drums all the time!

Here are a few photos and videos from one of our classes.

Here is a bit of free dance which Julie incorporates in each class. She brings different music each week for the kids to move to.

As always, I met a great group of moms and kids. I was happy to be registered along with my friend Anny Pier and her children. Anny Pier and I met during a season of Cardio Poussette when our older kids were just babies! And I met a new friend Isabel there too, who introduced herself to me after recognizing me from reading this blog! Wow, how rewarding is that!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sugaring off!

Time sure flies and I can't believe it's been well over 3 months since my last blog post. Good intentions... well, you know what happens when life grabs you by the horns!

Our latest outing was the Cabane a sucre. I got to spend some quality time with Kira, since this outing, organized by her preschool, allowed for one parent per registered child. I was so happy to spend this time with Kira. I honestly don't get enough time with just one child at a time these days!

I spent the week before this outing building it up, so Kira was quite excited about going to the cabane a sucre! As we were shopping a few days before, we were stopped on the way out of Loblaws by a reporter / photographer who asked if we had been to the sugar shack yet this year. Check it out in our local newspaper, Le Reflet!

I didn't know how to dress Kira that morning, so I put her in a fleece top and raincoat / rainboots, while packing a winter coat in the trunk just in case. Lucky I had that, because it turned out to be a frigid morning! At least the rainboots helped protect her feet from the mucky ground.

We went to La Goudrelle in Mont St. Grégoire. It's a huge, industrial type of sugar shack, but you don't get much choice when it's with a large group, particularly a school group. What makes it an event for me is part tradition, and part company. And this group of moms, kids, and teachers was fantastic. I swear I'll blog about the preschool very soon... the teachers there are incredible, generous, enthusiastic people, and the moms are great company as well!

We started off with a visit to the animals. Kira fed a goat, but I wasn't quick enough with the camera to snag a shot. Off for a walk in the forest to see the pails of sap hanging off the trees. And before you know it, a little sing-song and onto the horse & cart ride!
Once we felt cold enough that our toes were ready to fall off, we headed inside for some song & dance...

and then the feast! Now, this is not great fare for a pescatarian like me, but as I said, I went for tradition and company, and I had the best of both!

It all ended with the "tire" of course, where the kids (and us moms!) got to roll popsicle sticks in maple syrup on snow.

Since I didn't post about our sugar shack outing last year, here's a pic of my kids enjoying their "tire" last year! Wow, time certainly does fly! :)